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Process Chain Modelling and Analysis for the High-Volume Production of Thermoplastic Composites with Embedded Piezoceramic Modules

DOI: 10.1155/2013/201631

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Active composite structures based on thermoplastic matrix systems are highly suited to applications in lightweight structures ready for series production. The integration of additional functional components such as material-embedded piezoceramic actuators and sensors and an electronic network facilitates the targeted control and manipulation of structural behaviour. The current delay in the widespread application of such adaptive structures is primarily attributable to a lack of appropriate manufacturing technologies. It is against this backdrop that this paper contributes to the development of a novel manufacturing process chain characterized by robustness and efficiency and based on hot-pressing techniques tailored to specific materials and actuators. Special consideration is given to detailed process chain modelling and analysis focusing on interactions between technical and technological aspects. The development of a continuous process chain by means of the analysis of parameter influences is described. In conclusion, the use of parameter manipulation to successfully realize a unique manufacturing line designed for the high-volume production of adaptive thermoplastic composite structures is demonstrated. 1. Introduction The increasing scarcity or resources around the world necessitates the development of high-tech products with a high level of sustainability. Function-integrative lightweight engineering in multimaterial design is a vital source of key technologies for various applications in this field. In recent years comfort and environmental criteria have become an increasingly important element of automotive, medical, and civil engineering applications. The superior specific mechanical properties, excellent design flexibility, and cost-efficient, reproducible manufacturing processes which characterize fibre-reinforced composites based on thermoplastic matrix systems enable them to fulfil these criteria. In particular, those characteristics make them highly suited to applications in lightweight structures ready for high-volume production. Moreover, the integration of additional functional components such as piezoceramic actuators or sensors into thermoplastic lightweight structures facilitates the manipulation of the dynamic and vibroacoustic behaviour of those structures [1–3]. In addition to quality monitoring, energy harvesting, and active vibration or noise control [4–8], a number of structural applications (e.g., in morphing structures and compliant mechanisms) are also possible [9–13]. State-of-the-art production of adaptive lightweight


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